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Applied has the industry’s broadest suite of technologies for creating and accurately depositing layers of material on a wafer’s surface. The result is precisely controlled films, with some as thin as a single atom. In semiconductor fabrication, materials to be deposited include insulators such as silicon nitride, conductors such as copper and tungsten, and compounds, such as ferromagnetic material. Our system technologies engineer material properties through “fine-tuning” of precursor materials and process variables such as temperature, pressure, electrical and magnetic fields, plasma, flow rate, and time.
Our portfolio of systems offers a variety of deposition methods that enable specific tailoring of film properties. In physical vapor deposition (PVD), they are sputtered from a high-purity target to a substrate under high vacuum. In chemical vapor deposition (CVD), chemical precursors are introduced to a process chamber where thermal or plasma energy initiates a chemical reaction which deposits the byproduct of the reaction on the substrate. Atomic layer deposition (ALD) works by introducing reactant gases in a tailored sequence and depositing a single, pure atomic layer during each cycle. In selective deposition, a material is precisely deposited in a target area without bonding in other regions. Selective deposition is becoming an important scaling enabler as shrinking feature dimensions make traditional, multi-stage fabrication methods impractical: for example, selective deposition can eliminate the need for liner/barrier “molds,” thereby maximizing the volume of target films in today’s ever-smaller vias and channels. Selective epitaxy is used to grow high-quality films to tune the stress in the channel region of the transistor, optimizing performance and power.